Tuesday, 24 January 2012

History of BMW MINI, rated as one of the best cars ever made.

BMW launched its marque brand MINI Cooper in India - its 100th market - at the Auto Expo in Delhi. Priced at upwards of Rs 24 lakh for its various models, the MINI has been rated as one of the best cars ever made. Celebrities love it. Film directors love its style quotient. But note, MINIs had to be recalled this week across markets. ET on Sunday writes a mini history of the MINI.


The MINI, or new Mini, is sold in 100 countries, including India where the iconic car brand was launched earlier this month.

Its models, MINI (Cooper & Cooper S), MINI Convertible, MINI Cooper S Countryman, are available in India.

Price starts from Rs 24.90 lakh (MINI Cooper) to Rs 31.99 lakh (MINI Cooper S Countryman).


Alec Issigonis designed the first Mini - not yet the MINI (the brand name in capital letters given by BMW, its owner since 1994) - for the British Motor Co in 1959. The idea was to replace gas-guzzling cars with small, fuel-efficient ones. The Suez Canal crisis, which led to massive rise in fuel prices, was the trigger.

Issigonis kept experimenting with design to expand passenger space; the Classic Mini of 1959 was priced at £500.

The Mini was marketed under the Austin and Morris names until 1969.


In 1961, car designer and auto racing legend John Cooper - a friend of Issigonis's -redesigned the Mini to make more space for passengers; introduces Mini Cooper 997 that year; it also becomes a race car.

Many variants were introduced over the next decades. By 1977, almost 4 millions cars were sold across the world; so far 5.3 million Minis have been sold.


In the 1980s and 1990s, several "special editions" of the Mini were rolled out, transforming it from a mass-market vehicle into a fashionable brand.

BMW bought the Mini in 1994 and changed its name to MINI, or the new Mini. The last of the classic Minis was rolled out in 1999 at the Paris Auto Show.

20% MINI sales are rising in Brazil, Mexico and Korea; its global sales jumped 20% in 2011; US is its biggest market. Read More...